Man jailed for smuggling puppies

Immigration officers at Woodlands Checkpoint found the three sedated puppies hidden inside a modified speaker box in Loh Chee Chiang's car boot and referred the case to the AVA.
Immigration officers at Woodlands Checkpoint found the three sedated puppies hidden inside a modified speaker box in Loh Chee Chiang's car boot and referred the case to the AVA.PHOTO: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY

A 34-year-old fish farm operator crammed three puppies - a chow chow, Siberian husky and schnauzer - into a speaker box in his car boot and then drove across the Causeway to Singapore in April.

Immigration officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint found the sedated puppies and referred the case to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

Yesterday, Loh Chee Chiang was jailed for six months after he pleaded guilty to two charges: one count of importing live animals without a licence and another of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Loh had driven to Malaysia on April 20, the court heard, and visited a pet shop in Johor Baru.

As he was looking around, the owner asked if he could help take some puppies to a friend in Singapore. Loh agreed.

The owner told Loh he could hide the puppies inside the woofer speaker in the car boot and Loh handed it over to the owner to be modified before returning to Singapore.

The next day, Loh drove across the Causeway again, reaching the pet shop at around 10pm. The owner fed each puppy a white pill and placed them in the speaker box when they became drowsy.

He told Loh a man would collect the puppies at a carpark in Marsiling and pay him $800.

Loh left after midnight, but was stopped at the checkpoint.

AVA prosecuting officer Yap Teck Chuan called for a stiff sentence, saying such crimes are hard to detect given the large volume of traffic into the country.

He said the illegal importation of live animals also carried the risk of bringing in deadly diseases such as rabies.

Loh could have been fined $10,000 and jailed for 12 months for each of his two charges.

The puppies were quarantined, and then rehomed.

Amir Hussain

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Man jailed for smuggling puppies'. Print Edition | Subscribe